People in Nkhata Bay have been severely warned against boarding any vessels on Lake Malawi, saying most of them are uncertified and unseaworthy.
This follows the decision by the government to withdraw MV Ilala for maintenance.
Nkhata Bay Police Station public relations officer said marine police have found that people have now resorted to boarding any vessels especially from Nkhata Bay to Likoma or Chizumulu which is endangering their lives.
The government has authorized MV Chilembwe to take over the place of MV Ilala as she goes for maintenance for the next four to five weeks.
“The problem is that MV Chilembwe is very expensive, this is why people are resorting to these unseaworthy vessels. This is dangerous,” he said.
The warning comes barely two days after a Tanzanian vessel sunk on Lake Malawi, 50 kilometres away from Nkhata Bay boma, taking with it 11 lives.
One of the two women on board the vessel, which started off from Mbamba Bay in Tanzania in the dawn of Sunday wrote to her husband: “This is my last text to you. All have drowned. I am the last because I was at the top of the vessel (Edited).”
The vessel sent distress signals several times but Malawi has no rescue boats and failed to locate even the place where the vessel sunk.
There are strong winds on Lake Malawi this time partly blamed on El Nino powered weather.